State Lawmakers to Discuss Bill to Authorize Safe Injection Sites
BOSTON — State lawmakers will discuss a bill Tuesday that would allow for the implementation of supervised injection sites for addicts to use illegal drugs under the supervision of medical professionals.
Filed by State Reps. Dylan Fernandes (D- Falmouth) and Tami Gouveia (D-14th Middlesex), the bill would “authorize a pilot program for harm reduction sites, in which a person with a substance use disorder may consume pre-obtained controlled substances and medical assistance by health care professionals,” according to a copy of the legislation available on the state’s official website.
The bill, formally filed as H.1712, reads as follows:
“SECTION 1. Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 215 the following section:-
Section 215A. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department of public health shall promulgate regulations to authorize a pilot program for harm reduction sites, in which a person with a substance use disorder may consume pre-obtained controlled substances and medical assistance by health care professionals is made immediately available to such a person as necessary to prevent fatal overdose. Harm reduction sites shall make counseling, referrals to treatment and other appropriate services available for persons utilizing such sites to access on a voluntary basis. The department shall require that any site authorized under this pilot program first obtain approval from the board of health in the city or town in which the pilot site is located.
The commissioner may promulgate regulations pursuant to this section and shall transmit copies of the regulations to the joint committee on mental health, substance use and recovery, the joint committee on public health, the joint committee on the judiciary and the senate and house committees on ways and means not later than 30 days after the promulgation of the regulations.”
Though 20 other state lawmakers have signed on a cosponsors of the bill, there are no legislators from Bristol County have been listed as a petitioner for the measure. Fellow Cape legislator to Fernandes, State Senator Julian Cyr (D - Cape and Islands), is also a cosponsor.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling has publicly threatened to prosecute any politician or organizations who attempt to implement safe injection sites.
The Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse is scheduled to hold the public hearing at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday at the Statehouse.